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Ravens' kicker decision: more calculated than bold

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Ravens' kicker decision: more calculated than bold

My esteemed colleague Jeff Seidel calls the Ravens choice of rookie kicker Justin Tucker over veteran Billy Cundiff a bold move. Let me offer a somewhat different perspective.

Before the decision was made, as it started to appear that the Ravens might pick Tucker, Cundiff said: Ill take my services elsewhere. You know what? Hes probably right.

Somebody will probably sign him. Cundiff has been an adequate sometimes more than adequate NFL kicker. But hes fairly interchangeable with any number of other kickers. Last season, he made 76 percent (28-for-37) of his field-goal attempts, tied for No. 29 among the 36 kickers in the NFL stats.

Remember the guy Cundiff replaced, Steven Hauschka? He made 83 percent last season for Seattle (25-for-30). Even Matt Stover, deservedly beloved by Ravens fans for the many times he was the teams offense, finished his 13 years in Baltimore having made about 85 percent of his attempts. (He did have three seasons at over 90 percent.)

So heres the point about why this wasnt necessarily such a bold move. Tucker has displayed a stronger leg Cundiff ranked near the bottom of the league in field goals from 50-plus yards and hes younger and cheaper.

And the key thing about how this wasnt a huge gamble: If Tucker doesnt work out, there are certain to be veteran NFL kickers on the street available to bring in. And no matter who that is say, somebody like former Terp Nick Novak he wont be all that different from Cundiff.

So this was a logical move, but the Ravens arent really going too far out on a limb.

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Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

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USA Today Sports

Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

On Wednesday, February 14, a horrific school shooting claimed the lives of 17 innocent people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. 

The tragic event impacted people far and wide, and hit especially close to home for Ravens running back Alex Collins.

The former Arkansas star was born in Plantation, Fla., a suburb of Fort Lauderdale and went to high school just 15 miles south of Douglas High School. 

In the offseason, Collins took Irish dancing lessons to improve his footwork, and following the act of terror, the Ravens' tailback learned that one of his dance partners had been killed in the mass shooting.

17-year-old Cara Loughran attended The Drake school of Irish Dance with Collins in addition to two other Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and was fatally shot by the gunman on Wednesday afternoon. 

Collins took to his Twitter account to issue this heartfelt message.

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“The school shooting yesterday hit home,” Collins wrote.

“We received confirmation a few hours ago we lost one of the girls, Cara Loughran. Two other girls saw and experienced unspeakable tragedy. My heart goes out to these girls, all their families and their teacher Chrissy.”

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Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

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USA Today Sports

Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears will launch the NFL's 99th season by playing in the annual Hall of Fame game on Aug. 2.

The Ravens' first appearance in the Hall of Fame game, which launches the league's 2018 Enshrinement Week. Former Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis is among the inductees, along with former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

Lewis, who played 17 seasons with the Ravens, and Urlacher, who played all of his 13 seasons with Chicago, both were elected on the first ballot.

Lewis joins Jonathan Ogden as the only Ravens in the Hall of Fame. Both were selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1996 draft.

The other members of the Class of 2018 include Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. All will be inducted on Saturday, Aug. 4.

This will be the record-tying fifth time that the Bears will play in the Hall of Fame game. They won the previous four, most recently 27-24 over Miami in 2005.

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